Acer takes on Samsung’s Chromebook 2 with better battery-life & faster graphics for $100 less

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Acer is providing tough competition for Samsung’s Chromebook 2 with its new Chromebook 13, offering 11-hour battery life with full HD display for $100 less. The NVIDIA Tegra K1 2.1GHz quad-core processor should give the 1920×1080 display even better graphics performance than Samsung’s Exynos-powered model, as well as beating its 9-hour battery-life, for $299 against Samsung’s $400.

The downside, as noted by Engadget, is the cheaper-looking casing, being plain white plastic rather than the faux-leather stitching of the Chromebook 2 …  Read more

Chromebooks could get even cheaper thanks to support for a new MediaTek chip

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Chromebooks are already being marketed as affordable alternatives to traditional laptops, but Google’s browser-based computing platform could soon offer hardware at a sub-$200 price point. Taiwanese SoC maker MediaTek recently added an ARM Cortex A7 board codenamed “Moose” to the open source Chromium OS base. This system is based on the company’s low-end MT8127 quad-core processor, which clocks in at 1.5GHz.

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Google wants to know what Android apps you’d like to see ported to Chrome OS

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Yesterday during I/O’s opening keynote, Google announced that it’s bringing several Android apps to Chrome OS later this fall. In a demonstration of what can be expected, Android frontman Sundar Pichai did a walkthrough of Evernote, Vine and Flipboard running on a Chromebook. This new move falls in line with Google’s new Material Design initiative and its focus on unifying the search giant’s different platforms.

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‘Easy Unlock’ feature could soon come to Chrome OS, automatically unlocks your Chromebook if your phone is nearby

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Android Police has spotted a new feature in the Chrome OS dev channel that could one day allow users to unlock devices running Chrome OS by simply having their phone near the computer. The feature, which is still in a very early beta, is dubbed “Easy Unlock.” With this feature, your Chromebook could sense when your phone is nearby and Easy Unlock would automatically unlock the Chromebook, preventing the need to enter your password.

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Developer version of Chrome OS lets you access multiple profiles at the same time

Google has announced an experimental feature in the developer version of Chrome OS that allows you to access more than one user profile at the same time, easily flicking between them, as well as passing both tabs and files back-and-forth between profiles.

Switching profiles is as easy as clicking on the profile picture in the system tray popup. [...] One nice thing, but still highly experimental, is that you can move windows to different profiles with a simple right click in the window top bar. As you can see in the video, even the Files App even supports this feature.

To access the feature in the Chrome OS dev channel, enter the following line:

chrome://flags/#enable-multi-profiles

If you’re not currently using the dev channel, you can find instructions for switching here, but note that by definition you can expect to experience some glitches. The stable channel is always recommended when working on anything important.

ASUS announces smallest-ever Chromebox, available in March from $179

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ASUS has announced that the new Chromebox it promised last year will go on sale next month, priced from $179. The device – looking rather like Intel’s NUC ultra-compact desktop PC – is both the smallest and most powerful Chromebox to date, with a choice of three processors.

$179 will get you the base model, powered by a Celeron 2955U. Next model up is a Haswell Core i3 model, capable of driving a 4K monitor – and there will be an i7 version sold only outside North America. No pricing has yet been announced for the more powerful models.

“The Asus Chromebox offers the simplicity, security, and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” said Felix Lin, director of product management at Google. “Perfect for home, the classroom or the office, Chromebox is designed for the way we use computers today” …  Read more